Managers 7May08

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GO Managers, Weds. May 7th, 2008 8 AM PDT, 9 AM MDT, 10 AM CDT, 11 AM EDT, 4 PM BST

Agenda/chair: Jennifer

Minutes: Judy (last-minute substitute for Jane)

Present: Midori Harris, Pascale Gaudet, Judy Blake, Suzanna Lewis, Chris Mungall, Jennifer Deegan, David Hill, Mike Cherry, Michael Ashburner.

Agenda item on call agendas and content

The first agenda item, initiated by Jennifer and Midori, discussed what the managers' call is for and how it could work better.

The group considered a series of suggestions and questions. Inline comments are from the call discussion, and a more complete set of notes on the discussion follows.

Manager's calls: proposed new rules

  • There should be no progress reports except in exceptional circumstances (e.g. regulates implementation)
Comment: Wording is a bit too strong, but emphasis should shift; more details in discussion.
  • Suggestion:The chairperson each week should write and receive agenda items 1 week ahead of time, so that everyone can consider them in advance.
Comment: One week is a bit ambitious, even unrealistic. Aim for agenda 48 hours before call.
  • People should submit items with a list of the names of the people who need to be present for the discussion in brackets after the item. If only a small number of people are needed then it may make sense to move this topic to a smaller meeting. There needs to be some thought in advance about what is really appropriate for the managers' call and what can go to a different call.
  • If we have only a few items then we can have a shorter call. It does not need to last an hour.
Comment: agreed.
  • The chairperson should control the meeting more tightly so that digressions and rambling are stopped, and GO-related discussions that only need a small number of people are moved to another call. All present must co-operate and respect the chair, no matter how senior the digressor or how junior the chairperson.
Comment: general agreement; noted that this had not been stated explicitly before.

Other points for consideration:

  • Jennifer would like to suggest that we start having a separate content call with Midori, David, Jennifer, Chris and possibly Tanya. Currently many topics of discussion on the managers' call are actually things that would best be discussed just amongst the content people but there is not a forum for this just now.
Comment: general agreement that this is a good idea; also include Jane.
  • Jennifer frequently finds that she would like to raise points about content that are not being raised by the content managers. Can we establish a norm that it is okay to raise point pertinent to other people's areas of management? We have not previously discussed if this was the plan or not.
Comment: Emphatic yes.
  • There has been a habit established where the more junior managers are a bit too cowed by some of the PIs. In some instances the progress of work is being hampered, especially where a PIs has misunderstood the question in the first place, and been offended by something they read in that was not there. Sometimes critical issues are being explicitly banned from discussion, or very serious misunderstandings on email are preventing critical progress from being made. It would be helpful if we could work out a protocol to follow when such a misunderstanding takes place. A diplomatic signal that means 'Please stop and listen!' would be a good start.
Comment: No specific code phrase, though "TRAIN WRECK" was recommended as an option. General agreement that this is a chair's duty.
Comment: Again we should note that in a meeting context the chairperson trumps a PI, so the chairperson should feel free to control difficult discussions appropriately.
  • Currently the meeting is often being used as a convenient time to ask one of the PIs a question, as they are hard to get hold of at other times. Is this an appropriate use of meeting time or should we revert to mailing GO-Top in this situation?
Comment: Email GO-top.

Managers' calls: discussion notes

Q. What are the objectives of the manager’s meeting?

A. Monitoring Progress and Coordinating efforts.

St Croix meeting (2006) when we first proposed structure for subgroups. The manager’s group have goals and deliverables. We have to monitor our progress, our objectives, and whether we are on track to meet our objectives. The primary purpose is to moderate the progress and to coordinate the progress

Jen – mandates of her two working groups have changed since St. Croix.

Midori – no changed mandate…thinks whether the mandate has changed or not is separate from whether the calls have served the purpose.

Suzi…so for each group on wiki pages are the priorities and progress…

Jen – can’t have time to discuss what’s not working

Midori – the call emphasis has been wrong – too much listing of accomplishments.

Suzi – actually, Midori does a nice monthly report.

Mike – routine acommplishments are done by email, the meetings are for problems

Michael.. monthly reports should be on the wiki,

Judy – calls should be towards

Jen – Suzi one of the problems with the manager’s calls is that they go over to content issues, these discussion should be within the content group.

Midori – management call should be to identify ‘who’ should do things, but not to have digressions to discuss possible implementations

Pascal – don’t like getting agenda on Wed morning, so should come on Monday maybe

ACTION ITEM: Meeting Agenda should be available on Monday (48 hours in advance)

ACTION ITEM: post progress reports on Wiki with links back and forth

Suzi – having everything a week in advance is not realistic

Jen – concerned, but she should note that anyone can bring up anything.

Pascale…move ‘Concerns and Issues’ up to the top of the agenda…’Hot Topics’ come first…

ACTION ITEM: ‘Hot topics and Concerns’ should be at the top of the agenda..

Jen – cross purposes with to deal with diplomatically….everyone should say ‘STOP IT- TRAIN WRECK’

Michael – Meetings have a chair…that is the role of the chair…to manage the project.

Michael: on a manager’s call, Chair trumps the PI.


Jen –what about quick questions – Suzi / Mike these should just go to GO top

Suzi – all of GOC members are resources…we all need to share our expertise.

ACTION ITEM: Chair Trumps all and manages the meeting

ACTION ITEM: Digressions become an action item, not to consume the time of the manager’s meeting

Regular agenda items

Communications question

From Ruth Lovering: When should we notify the PIs of new developments e.g. papers, grants, new general initiatives. Ruth is keen not to bombard GO-Top with emails but also interested to have their views. She could send reports via the relevant managers but this takes away the opportunity for the PIs to respond directly to her emails.

Response: Ruth should continue to send to GO-top directly. As she wishes…

ACTION ITEM: GO-paid staff should check with PIs before writing papers or going to meetings.

Meeting Frequency

From several people in the UK: Is it necessary to have GO Consortium meetings twice a year? Several UK people are much happier with less frequent meetings, as the trips to the US are very disruptive and physically gruelling, and also very expensive to attend. With the use of skype and webex we feel that there are far fewer contentious issues, and many people are happy to resolve things using online meetings. Might we consider using these technologies more for the whole group? For example Tanya's talk on regulates and Jennifer and Harold's talks on mf-bp links could easily have been given to the whole group via webex and a phone line.

Response: Meetings should take place as often as needed…2x / year… may not need whole consortium at every meeting.
Response: We could possible have the meeting next spring in Europe.

ACTION ITEM: GO-Top will discuss meeting frequency, who should come, etc.

Human Genetics

Jane received this:

Dear Dr Lomax,
Further to our earlier phone conversation, I have pleasure in formally inviting you, in my capacity as European Editor of the journal 'Human Genetics' [1], to invite you to contribute a review article on the Gene Ontology Project and its utility for human geneticists (broadly in terms of the functional analysis of human genes and perhaps specifically in the context of the analysis of genetic disease). I am sure that a review article would be of great interest to our readership and would be highly cited. In terms of its length, there is no absolute maximum length although 5000 words is about average for our reviews. Mini-reviews of 2000-3000 words on a 'hot topic' within your research remit are also very welcome. The exact timing would also be up to you although the next 6-12 months would be desirable from our point of view.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide further assistance. I look forward to hearing from you.
With all best wishes,
David Cooper

Response: Jane’s letter about review for Human Genetics will be discussed by GO-top (ACTION ITEM).


How should I (Jennifer) continue with the electron transport bp-mf work? The discussion got derailed a bit at the consortium meeting and I would like to ask for clarification about this. The main question is about how to represent the species specificity of the links. The species specificity seems pretty straight-forward but we do not currently have a way to capture this information.

Response/discussion: High priority ? GO users want it (image group) (virus/bacteria groups)

taxon specific function process links?

Jane’s is mapping their systems to this

Michael – what I don’t understand is the link to taxon…

Chris…when we make any links in the GO, they are of the all-some form,

If we go with ‘has_part; then some-some

Plan in short term, when creating this information, to mark the taxon for which this would always hold. When we have sufficient content, we can say, should we go through all these taxon links, then make more specific statements. Here in the early stages, might be better to make taxon tags to see how this will go. Chris’ feeling to collect more of thsese

Why electron transport?

Need to solve the problem of electron transport There were experts available Michael: We are committed to making function process links, we need to approach this first at a high level, what relationships, technically. Chris – think about issues while

ACTION ITEM (Jen) put together bigger picture of function – process task..

Regulates continues

We [David & Tanya] would like to announce that the Function regulation links and the BP-MF regulation links go live in late October. We will send a draft to the managers after this meeting. This will appear in the May newsletter. Response/discussion:

David: GO time or MOD time for implementing ‘regulates’ across function / process.  ? big question is how to sum up annotations. Not a big deal for ‘regulates’

Michael : GO handles the timetable Chris: GO should provide two versions? No rather, we provide information about the work arounds.

David: ok, Midori will send out draft of blurb…


Next call

May 21, 2008, 8 AM PDT/11 AM EDT/4 PM BST

Agenda: Jane; Minutes: Chris

Summary of Action items

Managers (especially call chair): Meeting agenda should be available on Monday (48 hours in advance)

Managers: Post progress reports on Wiki with links back and forth (e.g. from call agenda to report); refer to wiki during call

Managers (especially call chair): ‘Hot topics and Concerns’ should be at the top of the agenda

Managers (especially call chair): The chair is empowered to manage the call; "Chair trumps PI".

Managers: Digressions become an action item, not to consume the time of the manager’s meeting

All: GO-paid staff should check with PIs before writing papers or going to meetings.

GO-top: Discuss meeting frequency, who should come, etc.

GO-top: Discuss Jane’s letter about review for Human Genetics

Jen:Put together bigger picture of function – process task

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